Casing/cementing/zonal isolation

Cementing and Zonal Isolation

This year, in the presence of enormous challenges, the selected papers demonstrate step changes both in efficiency and in the results of cementing operations.

Introduction with cement

Wow! What a year it has been! We have experienced enormous upheavals in our professional and social circles and wholescale changes in the way that we interact with each other. As engineers, though, we recognize that in every challenge there is an opportunity. I have been lucky to attend SPE online events, including a happy hour and a webinar on geothermal energy. As we witness a shift to renewable energy, I note that 2020 SPE President Shauna Noonan highlighted that our SPE professional expertise in the subsurface will be needed to both maintain existing energy production and develop new sources of energy. Cementing, zonal isolation, and well integrity continue to be an important piece of the puzzle.

This year, in the presence of enormous challenges, the selected papers demonstrate step changes both in efficiency and in the results of cementing operations. Managed-pressure cementing extends the benefits of managed-pressure drilling, and a successful case is described in paper OTC 30481.

Last year, we read about offline cementing in North America. Offline cementing continues to increase rig efficiency, and wellhead equipment that enables offline cementing is described in paper SPE 202439.

Improving cementing results by enabling casing rotation with rotating cement heads is discussed in paper SPE 198970.

Research that will enable future successful changes also continues. Although not summarized in this edition, extra reading is recommended for interesting discussions on proving shale as a barrier (SPE 200755), cement properties and initial state of stress in confined pressure conditions (SPE 201770), and the evaluation of neutron logging as a possible cement evaluation tool (SPE 202973).

As an industry, we also continue to investigate materials that will provide effective isolation in the annulus. Papers about self-healing systems (SPE 203174), epoxy (SPE 202648), and expanding metal sealing systems (SPE 203354) are also recommended as extra reading.

Although it has been a challenging year, operational improvements, research, and material investigation continue to provide engineering opportunities in cementing and zonal isolation.

This Month’s Technical Papers

Managed-Pressure Cementing Implemented in an Exploratory Ultradeepwater Well

Wellhead Design Enables Offline Cementing and a Shift in Operational Efficiency

Rotating Cement Heads Improve Results of Zonal Isolation in Colombia

Recommended Additional Reading

SPE 200755 Innovative One-Trip System Helps Qualify Creeping Shale as Permanent Barrier for Plug and Abandonment of Wells on the Gyda Field by Thore Andre Stokkeland, Archer, et al.

SPE 201770 Laboratory Measurement of Cement Stress Before, During, and After Curing Under Undrained Condition With Constant Hydrostatic Pressure by Meng Meng, Los Alamos National Laboratory, et al.

SPE 202973 Potential Usage of Neutron Logging Technology for Casing Cement Evaluation—Feasibility Study by Espen Dommersnes, University of Stavanger, et al.

SPE 203174 A Game-Changing Technology for Cementing in Highly Deviated and Horizontal Wells Using Interactive Mud-Sealing Cement System by Choosak Orprasert, Mubadala Petroleum, et al.

SPE 202648 Primary Cementing Using Epoxy Resins as Additive: Experimental and Application by Khawlah Abdulaziz Alanqari, Saudi Aramco, et al.

SPE 203354 Unique Openhole Metal Expandable Annular Sealing Systems in High-Pressure Multistage Fracturing Completion by Naresh K. Purusharthy, Saudi Aramco, et al.


Gunnar DeBruijn, SPE, is an instructor and consultant as a cementing technical expert. He has 30 years of experience working in the oil and gas industry, primarily in cementing. DeBruijn has worked across North America and in deep water around the world, supporting cementing and well-integrity initiatives. DeBruijn also contributes regularly to industry standards. He holds a BS degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Alberta. DeBruijn serves on the JPT Editorial Review Committee and can be reached at gunnar1@shaw.ca.